Indigegnous Archaeologies: Australian Perspective

Christopher Wilson, Kelly Wiltshsire

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Indigenous archaeologies is a methodological approach that not only emphasizes collaboration with Indigenous peoples at every stage of research but also seeks to privilege Indigenous philosophies and knowledges in order to decolonize archaeological research and practice. Within the Australian context, the foundations of Indigenous archaeologies emerged in response to historical inequalities and continuing colonial nature of traditional archaeological research, which were at the forefront of debates within the discipline in the 1980s. The resulting emergence of “community-based archaeologies” in the 1990s coupled with the influence of postcolonial critiques of archaeological practice within international literature provided the basis for Indigenous archaeologies in Australian to establish its roots. Some of the critical issues that have been debated under the rhetoric of Indigenous archaeologies within Australia include repatriation of human remains and cultural objects; culturally appropriate archaeological methods from collecting institutions and practices; ethical standards and codes of ethics; intellectual and cultural property rights; cultural heritage management and legislative frameworks; as well as the impact of development and mining on cultural and archaeological sites of significance. Today, Indigenous archaeologies forms a large subfield of Australian archaeology where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ knowledge, interests, and concerns are considered crucial to the broader archaeological inquiry, despite the still-developing nature of the theoretical framework within an Australian context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopeadia of Global Archaeology
Subtitle of host publicationLiving Edition
EditorsClaire Smith
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-51726-1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Archaeology
  • Australian perspective
  • Australian archaeology
  • Indigenous archaeologies
  • Indigenous Australians
  • Aboriginal Australians
  • methodological approach
  • collaboration
  • decolonize archaeological research


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